Stunning Transformation: 1987 Bertone X1/9

When this 1987 Bertone X1/9 was dragged from a barn just over a year ago, it was a pretty sad and forlorn-looking sight. However, hiding below the years of accumulated dust was a solid and rust-free car just waiting for someone to return it to the road once again. The owner charged Fiat specialist Midwest Bayless with the task, and the result is a car that is both stunning looking and mechanically solid. The X1/9 is located in Barrington, Rhode Island, and is listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding on the Bertone is now sitting at $8,100, but the reserve hasn’t been met.

What a transformation! The Rosso (Red) paint on the little X1/9 has a real shine to it, and it’s all the more impressive when you consider that it is the original paint. The car was washed after it emerged from hiding, and was then very carefully polished and detailed. There are no signs of rust anywhere in the vehicle, with the underside and floors looking absolutely spotless. There are a few minor imperfections in that original paint, but you really have to look hard to spot them. The headlights are said to pop up and down exactly as they should, and the external plastic and trim looks to be faultless.

Honestly, it would be easy to believe that the Bertone has been the recipient of a repaint since it emerged from hiding, but its appearance is simply the result of plain old hard work, combined with patience, and attention to detail. One of the most impressive aspects of the transformation from my perspective is the state of the distinctive “phone dial” wheels. These are a complex and intricate casting, but they have come up looking as good as new. If you are the sort of person who has a passion for Italian sports cars, then this car must really be starting to look like a tempting proposition.

As with the exterior of the X1/9, the interior is said to be original, and its presentation is once again the result of plain old hard work when it comes to cleaning and detailing. The interior trim of the X1/9 could be prone to quite bad deterioration, but this one looks to be incredibly good. There are no obvious signs of major wear issues, with everything also looking clean and free of rips, tears, or stains. A fresh set of floor mats should protect the original carpet, while a Blaupunkt radio/cassette player will provide some in-car entertainment. Life inside the Bertone is made all the more pleasant by the leather-wrapped wheel, ice-cold air conditioning, and power windows.

Hiding beneath that rear engine cover is a fuel-injected 1,498cc engine, producing 75hp. This power is then sent to the rear wheels via a 5-speed manual transaxle. I know that 75hp doesn’t sound like a lot, but it still allows for some entertaining driving in a car that tips the scales at a mere 2,200lbs. It is here that a lot of the time, effort, and money, has been expended on the X1/9. After emerging from the barn, Matt at Midwest Bayless pulled the engine and went through it from top to bottom. A full rebuild proved unnecessary, but every seal and gasket has been replaced, along with the timing belt and all of its associated hardware. The fuel system was refurbished, and a new clutch was installed. All hydraulic systems have been rebuilt, along with the suspension, steering, and brakes. The car is now said to run and drive perfectly.

The owner of this Bertone X1/9 claims that since he purchased the car a little over a year ago, he has invested around $22,000 into bringing it back to its current state. He also acknowledges that he will never be able to recoup his investment. He backs his claims with full documentation for all of the work completed, and the car even includes the original factory documentation and original sales receipt. So, if you would love to own a classic and peppy little Italian sports car, then this amazing 1987 Bertone X1/9 might be a car worth some pretty serious consideration.


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  1. Sukey

    Absolutely beautiful
    Well done

  2. h5mind

    One of my first cars was an X 1/9 and even 30 years ago it was rare to find them in rust-free condition. Kudos to the seller for offering up one of the best. That said, to invest over $20 K in this particular model is a head-scratcher. Fiat Dino? Absolutely. Maybe even a Fiat Spider. But an X 1/9? Toyota executed the same idea so much better with their MR-2.

    Like 8
  3. Little_Cars

    I need to take a cue from Midwest Bayless who demonstrated a hard work ethic, patience, and attention to detail in cleaning this car inside and out. I’m looking at an unmolested red Spitfire this weekend with a similar “barn-stale” paint that will require it.

    Like 3
    • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

      Go for it, Little_Cars, and please show us the before/after pix!

      Like 5
  4. poseur Member

    wow, it looks really good cleaned up!
    very surprising to see it so sharp.
    the non-flashy wheels, black trim and neutral interior tones look much more modern than expected.
    doubt it’ll bring much cash over $10k but it’ll make a sweet driver or showpiece if it runs anything like it looks

    Like 1
  5. Rube Goldberg Member

    There’s a colossal loss for ya’, and certainly a plus for the next owner, they were pretty cool cars. IDK, anything with Fiat on it would scare me. I read, even new replacement parts are weak. You want a mid-engine, go with a Fiero or a MR2, this will take a special person, possibly of Italian descent. With the demise of the new Fiat 500, I bet there won’t be any Fiat dealers here, not that they’d be able to help anyway. Reason this person has so much into it, is because parts are all from ebay sellers and such. Just be ready for that.

    • george Member

      Have you ever owned a Fiat?

      I’ve had a 124 Coupé, a Panda, and now a Lancia Beta. You can get most parts quickly, right here in the USA. The rest from Europe.

      The cars are not Toyota bullet-proof, but neither are Toyotas.

      They do offer a delightful driving experience, and while I have had an occasional moment of exasperation, I have never been left by the side of the road.

      Like 4
    • Dan Mar

      NOT even remotely true anymore @Rube; you Forget that Fiat® now owns Chrysler® . And its caled FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) America . You can order any Fiat parts you want in this country, no problems at all. We do all the time.


    F.ix I.t A.gain T.ony

    Like 1
    • Dan Mar

      @Oil Slick. The 70’s are calling; they want you to stop using their joke now.
      Alot has changed since normal people thought that joke was a funny.
      We also now have computers that don’t take up whole rooms, and fit in your hands, and mobile phones that you can carry in you pocket instead of being mounted in a car or a suit case.

      Like 3
    • T-BONE BOB

      Why do people continue to use that tired old cliche? It’s just not funny anymore. Get over it.

      Like 1
      • george Member

        Same reason that “people in the know” repeat the apocryphal “russian steel” crap, for which there is absolutely no evidence.

        Italy was perfectly capable of making fast rusting steel, and skimping on rust proofing, all by itself.

  7. Gaspumpchas

    Fix it again, tonite! Surprisingly its up to 15 large. Hope the guy gets what he needs to cover it, Looks like , he didn’t spare the buck. Beautiful. Good luck to the buyer and seller.

    Like 3
  8. Brian Ach

    $22k without even an engine rebuild? Hmm

  9. George Member

    The looks of a Bertone show car for small bucks. Hard to get that anywhere else.

    Like 1
  10. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Current bid is $19K. For an X 1/9? Yikes!!!!!

    Like 1
  11. Dab

    “private listing – bidders’ identities protected.” Shill bidders?

    Like 2
    • Dan Mar

      Years ago my friend sold a car on ebay for $2200. Starting bid was $100. Seven bidders were dueling it out in the last two days.
      Well… almost. Six were profiles he created and one was a real bidder that started bidding the first day it posted.

      Like 1
  12. ccrvtt

    I have a friend who had one of these. We drove out into the desert from LA in it one day. Fun trip, neat little car, handled like a go kart. He traded for a 1st gen MR2, then on to a Mustang 4.6. Now driving a Z3 which he’s had longer than any of the others.

    Anyone considering an Italian rust magnet may want to skip all the steps and go straight to the Beemer.

    Like 2
  13. jimmy the orphan

    Cool little car. Is 10k out of line for a super clean daily driver ? 2200lbs ? sounds like a ton a fun to me,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,JIMMY

    Like 2
  14. Mark-A

    Was the body colour engine cover a later model part or market dependant? Had a friend who had an 83/4 version & it had a black textured engine cover? If U want to try to upgrade the performance (and keep it all Fiat, there was a few which had the 1.3ltr Turbo from the Fiat Uno Turbo (available with or without Fuel Injection)

  15. T-BONE BOB

    Listing ended early. Seller probably got an offer outside of ebay. No idea how much it finally sold for

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